Lions hero Morgan passes away at 83

Published 09/10/2013 | 05:22

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Cliff Morgan, who died recently aged 83, had very close ties to Wicklow

Legendary Wales and Lions rugby player, broadcaster and former Wicklow resident Cliff Morgan passed away on Thursday, August 29, aged 83.

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Cliff's connections with Wicklow stretch back to the 1950s, when Welsh industrialist Kenneth Davies acquired a garage in the town where he hoped to build a wire rope factory. Seeing in Cliff the ideal man to progress the enterprise, he left the factory in his care, and was not disappointed; thanks to the work of Cliff, as well as Mick Egan, Bob Seale and later Terry Fox, the factory is still flourishing today.

As well as his industrial exploits, Cliff would become famous throughout the world of rugby for his performances on the field of play, beginning with Bective Rangers, who won the Leinster Cup for the first time in 20 years during his time as a player.

He won 29 caps for Wales between 1951 and 1958, captaining the side from 1956 until his early retirement from the sport at the age of 28, by which time he had already claimed a Grand Slam in 1952.

Arguably his greatest moment on the rugby pitch, however, came in the first test of the 1955 British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa in Ellis Park, Johannesburg, before a crowd of 96,000 spectators, where Cliff scored a try in a tense 23-22 win, the first time the Springboks had tasted defeat since the Second World War.

He would later captain the side to a 9-6 triumph in the third test in Pretoria.

After hanging up his boots following an illustrious playing career, Cliff next delved into the world of broadcasting, spending 11 years as the presenter of Sports on Four and serving as head of outside broadcasting with BBC TV.

Cliff's connections to Wicklow run deep. As well as his work in Wicklow town, he married Greystones native Nuala Martin with whom he had two children. Nuala passed away in 1999. He married his second wife, Pat, in 2001

The past and present staff of Wire Ropes Ltd send their sincere condolences to all of Cliff's friends and family and thank him for helping to sow the seeds of industry in Wicklow.

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